Australia’s Steve Smith bags ICC Cricketer of the Year award

Dubai, Dec. 23 (ANI): Australia captain Steve Smith has become the fourth player from his nation and 11th player overall to win the prestigious Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy after being named as the ICC Cricketer of the Year 2015.

Smith follows in the footsteps of Ponting (2006 and 2007), Mitchell Johnson (2009 and 2014) and Michael Clarke (2013) to lift the coveted trophy since the inception of the awards in 2004.

Other recipients of the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy include Rahul Dravid (2004), Andrew Flintoff and Jacques Kallis (joint-winners in 2005), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (2008), Sachin Tendulkar (2010), Jonathan Trott (2011) and Kumar Sangakkara (2012).

The top-order batsman was also adjudged the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year, which has made him only the seventh cricketer after Dravid (2004), Kallis (2005), Ponting (2006), Sangakkara (2012), Clarke (2013) and Johnson (2014) to bag the two coveted prizes in the same year.

During the voting period, which ran from 18 September 2014 to 13 September 2015, the 26-year-old from New South Wales finished as the leading run-scorer in Tests with 1,734 runs in 25 innings of 13 matches at an average of 82.57. This included seven centuries and six half-centuries. In 26 One-Day Internationals, Smith scored 1,249 runs at an average of just under 60 with four centuries and eight half-centuries. He was a member of the Australia side which won the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand earlier this year.

Earlier this month, Smith was also named in the ICC Test and ODI Teams of the Year, which were picked by the ICC selection panel that was headed by former India captain and Chairman of the ICC Cricket Committee Anil Kumble.

A delighted Smith said, “I will look back on 2015 with mixed feelings. Winning the ICC Cricket World Cup at home was a career highlight, and being appointed captain is a great honour, but the disappointment of losing the Ashes remains.

“To be the best team that we can be, we have to become better at winning away from home, and that remains our motivation heading into 2016.”

South Africa’s ODI captain AB de Villiers has been named as the ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year for the second successive year, while his teammate and T20 captain Faf du Plessis has won the ICC T20I Performance of the Year award for his 56-ball 119 against the West Indies in the second T20I in Johannesburg on 11 January 2015.

Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has won the ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year award.

Meanwhile, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum has won the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award for inspiring his side to play the game in its true spirit. This was clearly evident throughout the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, and in particular in the semi-final where McCullum showed humility and exemplary sportsmanship by inviting de Villiers and his side to the New Zealand’s dressing room after a closely-fought match. (ANI)

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